“JESUS, ROSE OF SHARON”
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…being rooted and grounded in love…” (Eph. 3:17)
INTRO.: A song which describes the love with which Christ dwells in our hearts is “Jesus, Rose Of Sharon” (#445 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #131 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text is attributed to Ira A. Guirey, the identify of whom is unknown. No information is available about this author, other than that she was active in the early part of the twentieth century. There is the possibility that the name is a pseudonym for another gospel hymn writer. However, there was an Ida Augusta Guirey who was born in 1874 to George Guirey and Sarah Francis Higgins Guirey. According to 1880 United States Census records, this birth took place in San Francisco, CA. She passed away in 1957. There is no way of knowing for sure if this person is the author of the song. Cyberhymnal.org says that Ida A. Guirey (Early 20th Century) also wrote a hymn entitled “Under the Blood” in 1920 with music by C. S. Brown, beginning “My sins, which were many, are all washed away, And now I am happy and free; I sing of God’s mercy by night and by day, His wonderful mercy to me.”
Hymntime.com lists Guirey as the author of five other hymns, “God Has Given Each a Field,” “It Was Heaven in My Heart when Jesus found me,” “More and More My Heart,” “O to Be Like Jesus and to walk,” and “There Is Joy, Wonderful Joy.” Hymnary.org gives one more title, “Do you need a friend to help you?” Researchers have suggested that she must have appreciated nature, including beautiful and fragrant flowers, like roses; that her age probably was that of at least a young woman, if not older; and that she most likely wrote as she looked at one of the more obscure books of the Bible since only Song of Solomon 2:1-2 uses the phrase which she borrowed for her song’s title and oft-repeated description. The tune (Sharon) was composed by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). Gabriel, who lived for a time in San Francisco, often himself used the alias “Charlotte G. Homer” for the author’s name when he provided both words and music for a hymn; other well known songs by Gabriel include “Come to the Feast,” “God Is Calling the Prodigal,” “I Will Not Forget Thee,” “O That Will Be Glory for Me,” “Only a Step,” “Send the Light,” “I Stand Amazed,” “He Lifted Me,” and “Where the Gates Swing Outward Never.” The song “Jesus, Rose of Sharon” was produced, probably in 1921, and was first published in Rodeheaver’s Gospel Songs, compiled at Chicago, IL, in 1922 by Gabriel and Homer Alvin Rodeheaver (1880-1955).
Born at Union Furnace, OH, Rodeheaver was a well-known gospel musician, hymn writer, and religious music publisher of the early twentieth century. Rodeheaver’s work greatly influenced the popularization of the gospel song in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1908 he became songleader for the crusades of evangelist Billy Sunday, and in 1910 founded The Rodeheaver Publishing Company in Chicago. Gabriel became associated with this firm in 1912. In 1920 Rodeheaver established Rainbow Records, one of the earliest labels devoted solely to gospel music. In 1936 The Rodeheaver Company merged with the Hall-Mack Publishing Company of Philadelphia, PA, and in 1941 was moved to Winona Lake, IN. Rodeheaver composed only a little but edited some eighty hymn collections, perhaps the most-used of which was his 1948 Christian Service Hymns. One of his tunes that appears in some of our books was composed for “Good Night and Good Morning” copyrighted in 1922 with words by Lizzie DeArmond. “Jesus, Rose of Sharon” had originally been copyrighted by Rodeheaver, and the copyright was renewed in 1950 by The Rodeheaver Company, which is now a division of Word, Inc.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use among churches of Christ, “Yield Not To Temptation” has appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise, all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat; the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church and the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.
The song figuratively pictures Jesus as the rose of Sharon whom we cherish and adore
I. Stanza 1 says that Jesus is like a flower that fills our lives with a beautiful fragrance
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart;
Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart,
That where’er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.
- As a flower imparts a sweet smell, so Jesus imparts His truth that we might be holy: 1 Pet. 1:15-16
- We then shed abroad this fragrance by the example of our lives: Matt. 5:16
- In this way, others can receive a knowledge of the love of God: Eph. 5:1-2
II. Stanza 2 says that Jesus is like a flower which is sweeter and fairer than any on earth
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, sweeter far to see
Than the fairest flowers of earth could ever be,
Fill my life completely, adding more each day
Of Thy grace divine and purity, I pray.
- The reason that Jesus is the sweetest and fairest is that He brings us salvation by the grace of God: Tit. 2:11-14
- Thus, we should want him to fill our lives completely: Col. 1:9-11
- When we are so filled, He will add more each day of His purity: 1 Tim. 4:12
III. Stanza 3 (not in HFWR) says that Jesus is like a flower whose balm can heal us
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, balm for every ill,
May Thy tender mercy’s healing power distill
For afflicted souls of weary burdened men,
Giving needy mortals health and hope again.
- In Jesus Christ, sinful mankind can find that “balm of Gilead” which God prescribes for our souls: Jer. 8:22
- We need this balm because our souls are afflicted or burdened and need rest: Matt. 11:28-30
- Only Christ can give us health and hope by providing for our spiritual healing: Mal. 4:1-2
IV. Stanza 4 says that Jesus is like a flower that will bloom forevermore
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom forevermore;
Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore,
Till the nations own Thy sovereignty complete,
Lay their honors down and worship at Thy feet.
- It is the desire of God for the beauty of Christ to spread from shore to shore as He is preached to all nations: Lk. 24:46-47
- The goal of this preaching is that the nations will own His sovereignty: Phil. 2:9-11
- And the ultimate hope is to lay our honors down and worship at His feet before His throne: Rev. 22:1-5
CONCL.: The chorus expresses the desire that this flower would bloom within us
Jesus (Blessed Jesus),
Rose of Sharon,
Bloom in radiance
And in love within my heart.
CONCL.: I have heard people question whether it is scriptural to use this song because the term “rose of Sharon” is used only once in the entire Bible, and in that instance it does not refer to Jesus. Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press made the following comments:
In fact, although no one can say for certain which flower is the actual “rose of Sharon,” many scholars think the best guess is the cistus or rock-rose. The cistus blooms in various parts of Palestine, and is well known for its soothing aroma and pain-relieving qualities.
When and why the title “Rose of Sharon” was given to Jesus is rather vague. But at least two reasons as to why it might have been assigned to our Lord seem fairly clear. First, Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of beauty and splendor. Of course, His earthly body could not boast of such attributes (Isaiah 53:2), but His spiritual beauty and majesty remain unsurpassed by any created being in Heaven or on Earth (2 Peter 1:16). Second, Christ’s healing powers and pain-relieving actions find a definite point of comparison with those of the rock-rose. Is it any wonder that the “Great Physician,” Who came to heal those who were physically ill as well as those who were spiritually sick, should be given the name of a flower known for its sweet aroma and soothing medicinal qualities?
Although the Holy Spirit never chose to inspire the Bible writers to refer to Jesus as the “Rose of Sharon,” it nevertheless is a name we can employ to speak of the majesty, beauty, and healing power of our Lord. (end of quote)
Of all the lovely flowers on earth, none could be more precious than “Jesus, Rose of Sharon.”